By S Suzanne Fisher
The pictures are the first thing we women look at (yes, looks DO matter, but not the way you might think). Pictures are your first line of connection on a dating site. Please put your best face (and body) forward. These ten suggestions are guaranteed to help you meet more women!
#1 The Fish
We don't care how proud you are of that fish you caught, absolutely, positively do NOT post your fish picture. Maybe hundreds of years ago, when the equivalent of a computer's email was a rock with a message tied to it, we women might have been impressed with that big fish. Seeing that huge hunk of meat, we might even have entertained the idea of having it (and maybe you) for dinner. But not today. Leave the fish picture for your photo album (which I guarantee will likely have many other fish pictures to keep it company). We will ooo and ahhh appropriately about your big fish after we get to know you.
Aren't cell phones wonderful? We can take pictures of ourselves. In strange places. Like bathrooms. One out of every 10 man's profile on online dating sites has at least one bathroom selfie picture as part of it. Selfies are fine to use as extra pictures, but PLEASE make your main picture one of your handsome, smiling face with a twinkle in your eyes. And when you take those selfies, remember not to lean back and take it, as the result looks like someone who is tired or lazy or debilitated. You want to show us you are a vibrant, exciting datable man. Ask yourself when you evaluate your selfie, "Is this a really good picture of me? Would I date me?"
#3 Crowd Photos
You love your adult son or daughter, and that is a wonderful trait. But whatever you do, make your main photo of you, not you with them. Don't make us women play eenie, meanie, miney moe to figure out which one is you. When women see two men together in a photo, we are automatically going to look at (and maybe salivate over) the youngest one. Where does that leave you? And as for having your beautiful daughter in the picture with you, no woman in her right mind wants to compete with that image! The subconscious line of thinking goes, "daughter is beautiful, former wife was beautiful, I'm not beautiful, on to the next profile."
#4 Body Expose' Pictures
You exercise, you eat right, you admire your body. There is a time and place to share that bare body with us, and profile pictures are not that place or time. For your profile pictures, dress in clothing that accentuates that great body of yours and have your picture taken. Most men would be amazed at what can be turn offs to women. Man boobs top the list with some women, and with all the endocrine disruptors out there in society today, many men have them.
Then there is too much hair on the chest, not enough hair on the chest, wonderful abs, which to some women looks anorexic. One woman's turn-off can be another woman's turn-on. Don't lose your audience with bare body pictures unless you have an absolutely perfect bare chest, and few men do. While a bare body picture may appeal to one in ten women, the other nine are on to the next profile. You have just shown them more than they want to know about you on their first profile viewing.
And if you have what is often referred to as a 'beer gut' pul-ese do not accentuate it with a tight, light-colored shirt! Wear a dark shirt that is a little loose. Darker clothing makes you look slimmer.
#5 Old, Out-of-date Photos
We women want to know who you are now. We want to see if there might be a spark of chemistry. Pictures from long ago do not give us that information. Yes, you were a stud muffin in your teens or twenties, a handsome guy in your thirties, but who are you now? Does that hat you are wearing cover up a bald head? How disappointing it is to meet Mr. Handsome and Sexy online and Mr. Over-the-Hill bald guy in person! (Yes, this happens to you guys too! Some women post younger pictures rather than who they are now.)
Unfortunately, our society has made beauty so very important. If your teeth are not sparkling white, your face is not sculpted, your body is not lean and tan, you do not fit the profile of beauty as the manufacturers of cosmetics and cosmetic aids tell us is acceptable today.
But you are special, individual, and unique. So, show us the very best of who you are now. While you cannot regress in age, you can make the best of what you have. Let your special nature shine through in current photos.
#6 Clutter pictures and other No No's
It is important to be mindful of the backgrounds in your pictures, especially if they are taken in your home. Light, airy rooms without a lot of clutter are the best places in your home for photos (no, not mirror selfies in the bathroom!). What does clutter in a home photo tell you about a person? It says you're not the neatest person, and you can easily live around clutter, which, for a woman looking for a relationship (and aren't we all?), says subconsciously that she will have to work to keep things neat because you don't or won't. Oops, on to the next profile.
Another No No includes pictures turned sideways. Who wants to work that hard to see someone? The sideways pictures are meant to be cute, enticing and different, but they end up just being extra work to see who is really in them. Turn your pictures upright.
In photography one hears a lot about Figure-Ground. In Gestalt psychology Figure-Ground is known as identifying a figure from the background. For example, we see words on a piece of paper as the figure and the white paper as the background. Many of men's profile pictures are so dark, it is difficult to distinguish the person from the background. The problem with this type of picture is that it makes us have to work too hard, so we are on to the next profile. Lose those pictures please. Replace them with pictures of you that are distinct from the background behind you.
Then there are the gray pictures, the stock photos dating sites put up when you offer no pictures. When women are glancing through prospects, these pictures are an automatic 'ignore this one and go to the next profile.' The reason we are all doing online dating is that we don't have time to go out and meet prospective dates. And we don't have time to stop and wonder what someone looks like or why they haven't posted a picture.
Next, there are the things to say or not say in your profile. If you manage to intrigue a woman with your photos, you don't want to lose her with your words. So, let's look at some written profile No No's.
#7 I'm Mr. Wonderful I Am, I Am
And you surely are wonderful, but let's not overdo it. Many men list so many wonderful traits they say they possess, one wonders where or if humility ever figures in. An example (taken from a man's profile) is "I am optimistic, ambitious, outgoing, emotional, kind-hearted, loving, caring, understanding, fun, sensitive, playful, kind, sincere, honest, loving, intelligent, fairly easy-going, active, down to earth, honest, loyal, affectionate, positive, and have a great personality." After all that, we women are on to the next profile because Mr. I'm Wonderful surely has a few ego issues!
So, how do you tell the women viewing your profile you are someone they would enjoy meeting without sounding like you are selling snake oil instead of describing yourself? Let's incorporate most of the adjective overload from Mr. I'm Wonderful's profile into an interesting profile.
I work hard and enjoy excelling at my job. I enjoy people, do my best to understand them, and believe in helping others when I can. I care about my friends, and believe in honesty in relationships. In my fun times I enjoy a wide variety of activities, everything from cycling to volunteering. My glass is always at least half full.
My favorite thing to do is _____________. I love deeply and enjoy sharing my feelings with my partner.
Talk about your hopes, your dreams, your feelings, what you enjoy in others. Leave the deal breakers for the 'getting to know you' time. Negativity in a profile is a definite turn off for women (and men), on to the next profile.
What woman would not want to grab you right off the page after reading a profile like you have just created?
#8 Chemistry - Why Men and Women Come Together
We want it. You want it. We both want to experience the chemical reaction of oxytocin, the powerful hormone that helps us trust and bond. And bonding (usually) ultimately results in physical intimacy (at least we hope it does). X plus Y sprinkled with a little oxytocin is a potent mind drug. It is a natural high. But chemistry does not happen with everyone we meet or date.
Most men do not get closer to instigating that oxytocin high by stating in their profiles how much they like kissing, hugging, and how much they enjoy physical intimacy. What these statements say to many women is that you are a player who wants to "hit 'em and quit 'em." You are implying that sex is the only part of a relationship in which you are interested. So, how do you indicate that you are all male, your equipment works, and you surely would like to meet someone who would enjoy taking your equipment for a test drive?
When you write your profile, you are faced with having to deal with society's judgments. Men can date a lot of women, and no one thinks anything of it. Yet women who do what some men call Serial Dating (dating more than one man at a time) are judged harshly. Men can be sexually active in several relationships without being judged, yet when women do the same thing they are referred to derogatorily.
So, first off, get clear with yourself about what you actually want your profile to do, get you 'laid' or get you the woman of your dreams. You can have both, you know. Do you want a quality relationship, or do you just want hook-ups? If you just want short-term hook-ups, then go ahead and be honest in your profile and say that. If you want to date in the hopes of finding your dream woman, then you need to use a bit more finesse.
You can say "I am looking for a meaningful relationship in which I can enjoy all facets of our togetherness." Leave out the kissing, hugging, and physical intimacy statements, as they are implied by "enjoy all facets of our togetherness." Your dream woman will definitely have enough imagination to entertain those ideas after reading this statement.
#9 Looking for a Good Hearted Woman
What you say when you say you are looking for a 'good hearted woman' is that you have baggage from past relationships in which you have been hurt. Either work through the baggage and offload it or put it in the closet and lose the phrase "good hearted woman."
#10 Grammar and Dating Scammers
Dating scammers are people who express love interest in someone, try to get them hooked, and then get money from them. Most of the dating scammers who approach women claim to be engineers of some sort, widows (rarely do they say widowers, which is grammatically correct), and they consistently use incorrect grammar. If you do not want to look like a dating scammer, use correct grammar, spell check your profile, have someone read over it and correct any errors. And... don't claim to be a widow, even if your spouse died, not unless you plan on having a sex change (in which case you would likely be on a different section of the dating site).
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